Gauteng may aid small firms with property

Posted On Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:14 Published by
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Gauteng provincial government identifies more than 37,000 properties, many of which it is looking to offer to township businesses.

 Lebogang Maile

This is what economic development MEC Lebogang Maile told residents of Reiger Park in Ekurhuleni at an economic development road show, which was also attended by Premier David Makhura. 

Mr Makhura yesterday said a team of social cluster MECs would be in Reiger Park today to assess the state of social infrastructure and standard of services from police, hospitals and schools. It also emerged that the Gauteng provincial government is considering turning its unoccupied, unused properties into sites for small businesses in township areas.

"We have 65 townships and some of these have been identified as big impact townships and exist on the margins of big economies. These areas have lots of activity which if supported can address unemployment and poverty," he said. Mr Makhura cited research from the University of Johannesburg, saying the economy of Reiger Park was potentially worth R2bn, and that of Diepsloot close to R1.8bn.

Last month Gauteng infrastructure development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said while a number of buildings owned by the provincial government were already being leased to nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and small businesses, the department was looking for ways to utilise some of its vacant properties.

Mr Maile said the idea of leasing unoccupied buildings to small businesses was in line with the African National Congress's election promise to build the economy and create jobs. "Many of our (small businesses) are operating from yards and garages. People don't have space to operate their business. It is important to look at infrastructure."

Mr Maile said the provincial government needed to investigate how to convert government buildings not being utilised into facilities for business such as office parks. "We also have industrial areas which are abandoned. We want to revitalise those so that communities have the opportunity to build their businesses there and do a range of things."

Mr Makhura said although the provincial government could intervene in township economies, it was up to Reiger Park residents to revitalise their own local economy by participating in it and supporting local businesses.

Ms Mayathula-Khoza said the province's asset register could help the provincial government to generate revenue through advertising as well as rental accommodation of small businesses and NGOs.

Last modified on Sunday, 17 August 2014 11:20

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